Donetsk (Ukraine): England captain Steven Gerrard has praised debutant Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, saying the Arsenal mid-fielder has showed that "if you are good enough you are old enough" to play your first international match at 18.
Oxlade-Chamberlain, during England`s 1-1 draw with France here Monday, became the second youngest English player after Wayne Rooney at the European Championship.
Gerrard compared Oxlade-Chamberlain with Rooney, who had to watch the match from the stands, for his fearless willingness to run at more established opponents. Rooney will be missing the first two matches due to suspension.
"We had young players out there but good players. I think Wayne Rooney proved all those years ago if you are good enough you are old enough and I think Oxlade-Chamberlain showed that he is good enough at this level," Gerrard was quoted as saying by a leading daily.
"He (Chamberlain) has still got a lot of learning to do at this level but playing with experienced players he will pick that up quickly," he added.
Oxlade-Chamberlain was a surprise selection ahead of experienced Stewart Downing or Theo Walcott.
Oxlade-Chamberlain said draw with France, one of the favourites for Euro 2012, proved that England can defy expectation.
"Against a good French side we have shown we can stick with them. Obviously sometimes, especially in tournament football, you are going to be outplayed and it is just about getting the right result. We got a good result," Oxlade-Chamberlain said.
"I think I did OK, just OK. I think it was a bit frustrating for me getting space to do what I like to do and run at people. I like to find space out wide but the way we play, we like to play compactly, and I think we had to against a good French team who almost overran us in midfield.
"Everything is coming as a surprise to me at the moment, but then I have to remind myself that I was one of the initial players picked for the squad," he added.